Migrants' movements through the Mediterranean (EMN Policy Brief)

This EMN Policy Brief presents key data on the irregular movements of people across the EU external borders and within the European Union itself, whether as asylum-seekers or as migrants, over the past few years and including the first nine months of 2015.

Background information

This Policy Brief is supported by the accompanying EMN Inform on Migrants' movements through the Mediterranean. It aims to present key data on irregular migratory movements in the region over the past few years and including the first nine months of 2015.

Policy Brief Study

The Policy Brief Study summarises trends in asylum applications and movements of non-EU migrants across the EEA over recent years up to September 2015. It concentrates on those EU countries receiving the highest number of asylum applications (over 20.000 each in 2014) which are Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, Hungary, UK, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium. Grece is also included where relevant.

The Policy Brief shows that between the start of 2009 and September 2015:

  • Asylum applications in the EEA: a total of 3,3 million asylum applications have been made in the EEA. The number of applications in 2015 looks likely to rise to around 3 times the number five years earlier.
  • Nationalities applying for asylum in the EEA: just over one in ten of the 3,3 million asylum applications received in the EEA were made by Syrian nationals (13% of the total). Other significant nationalities applying for asylum in the EEA include Afghans, Kosovars, Iraqis, Russians and Eritreans. The nationalities of asylum-seekers in the EEA can change rapidly for a variety of reasons.
  • Countries in the EU in which asylum-seekers seek refuge: Germany received the highest number of asylum applications (from an 11% share in 2009 to 32% in the first nine months of 2015), France received the second highest number of asylum applications of all EEA countries, followed by Sweden, Hungary, Italy and Austria.
  • Migrant routes to Europe: the Central Mediterranean route was the main route being used by irregular migrants to enter the EU in 2014. In 2015, flows increased in the Eastern Mediterranean route without a decrease in detections via the Central Mediterranean. Between January and September 2015, there has also been a surge in detections in the Western Balkans.
  • Decisions across the EEA (January - September 2015): In Germany 46% of their total decisions resulted in granting protection. In France this proportion was lower at 26%. While third in terms of the number of decisions, Sweden had the highest grant rate (76%). Hungary had the lowest grant rate (14%) in the EEA (including many applications withdrawn). Nationals from Syria had the highest acceptance rate (96%) of any nationality.
  • Onward movements in Europe (January - September 2015): most Syrians didn't apply for asylum in the first country they arrived in, but instead move on to other EEA countries. Around 60% of the total number of Syrians recorded as entering the EU lodged a first-time application in the EEA. Same for Eritreans who appear to enter the EU through Italy while the number of Eritreans claiming asylum in Italy is relatively small. Same for Afghani nationals whose point of entry in the EU is Greece although the number of claims made there by Afghans is limited to 1% of those detected illegally crossing into the EEA..

The Policy Brief includes several statistical annexes (overview tables).

Publication Date:
Tue 05 Jan 2016
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